Best mattress: your guide to a perfect night’s sleep

11 images

Welcome to our best mattress buying guide. Buying a new mattress is expensive and daunting, but when you consider you spend almost 16 years of your life in bed this is not the time to compromise. We’ve spoken to the experts and have come up with all the answers so you can find the perfect mattress for your comfort and needs.

All the best mattresses you can buy right now in one place. Click the Read More button for our buying guide or scroll down for a list of all the best mattresses.

Mattress facts to consider before you buy:

*A bed should be 10cm longer than the tallest person who will be sleeping in it, so a king-size is the minimum for someone 6ft or more, and wide enough to allow both partners to lie side by side, hands behind heads, without elbows touching.

*To check if a mattress is supporting you properly, lie down and slide a hand beneath the small of your back. If your hand fits easily, it’s too soft; not at all, and it’s too firm.

*The base will affect how the mattress feels. A sprung divan will make a mattress seem softer than a solid divan or slatted base.

*Sprung and pocket mattresses are padded with fillings including cotton, Lambswool and mohair. Luxurious options, such as cashmere and silk, will mean the finished product is more expensive.

We’ve asked the experts the questions, to give you the best answers.

How often should you replace your mattress?

Angela Moran, Product Strategy Director at Silentnight Group tells us, ‘Your mattress should last 8-10 years, so invest wisely. Replacing every 8 years is sensible; thinking about its heavy daily usage, even if your old mattress still feels comfortable and supportive, it will have softened over time. It will also be hygienically ready for renewal after 8 years.’

How do you sleep?

When choosing a mattress comfort and support is key. We spoke to Myriam Ruffo, Head of Bedrooms and Bathrooms at IKEA UK, who gave us the 101 on the best mattresses for the three key sleeping positions:
back, front and side.

“There are lots of things to consider and you can usually get a good feeling as to whether the mattress will provide a good night’s sleep while testing it in the store.

“Be sure to test the firmness and take in to consideration your sleeping style to ensure you choose a firmness that offers you the correct back support. Your mattress plays a huge part in your health and wellbeing considering you spend around eight hours every night sleeping on it.”

Sleeping on your back – medium firm

Back sleepers require support for the lower back, otherwise too much pressure can be put on this area which can result in pain. A medium-firm mattress is the best mattress in this scenario as it offers the support of a firm mattress but also has a softer, more comfortable feel.

Sleeping on your front – firm

This sleeping style requires a mattress that can keep the body afloat, rather than sinking into the mattress as this can cause lower back pain. A firm mattress is the best mattress here as it will keep the body in a position where spine alignment is at a minimal.

Sleeping on your side – soft

Sleeping on your side allows your spine to relax and therefore takes pressure off of the back, so it’s one of the healthiest ways to sleep. Side sleepers require a softer medium-firm mattress so the spine can rest in its most natural position, allowing the mattress to mould itself to the curves of the body.

Buying a mattress ultimately comes down to personal preference, because no two people have the same needs and requirements, some retailers now offer a free trial period, meaning if you don’t get on with the one you’ve chosen you can return it free of charge. Check this option is available before purchase.

Pocket sprung mattresses have been the most popular for many years now, however there are plenty of youthful contenders in the shape of foam and latex. The modern day mattress arrives in a box, some even overnight! Read the facts below to determine which style would suit your needs.

Mattresses explained…

What is an Open-sprung mattress?

An open-sprung mattress contains one long piece of wire coiled into springs. It also has a

border rod of wire that gives the mattress a firm edge and helps retain its shape.

Pros: Great value for money, they are lighter than other mattresses, so easier to turn, and can be turned in all directions, which extends the life of the mattress.

Cons: As the springs are all connected, open-sprung mattresses are less responsive to your body and overall less supportive.

Best for: Occasional use, and ideal for children’s bedrooms, as they’re less expensive, so can be upgraded as they grow.

What is a Pocket-sprung mattress?

Pocket-sprung mattresses are more luxurious, with up to 3,000 individual small springs housed in separate fabric pockets. They tend to have hand-stitched sides for strong, stable edges. Founder of Button & Sprung, Adam Black tells us,’ We believe that pocket springs will deliver maximum comfort, and our mattresses feature our patented IQ Spring technology. Each spring is individually housed within their own pocket so work independently from each other. This unique design responds to weight so all of your body is supported, and even if your partner is moving around they won’t disturb your sleep.”

Pros: The springs move independently to support your body. They come in a choice of tensions –

soft, medium or firm, meaning good support whatever your weight.

Cons: Because of the density of the fillings, pocket-sprung mattresses can be heavy

to turn. They’re usually filled with natural materials, like Lambswool, which can exacerbate allergies.

Best for: The separate springs make them ideal for two people of different weights. Also available to buy with two sides of a different firmness.

What is a Memory foam mattress?

Memory foam is a mouldable material. The most well known type of memory foam mattress is Tempur, a material originally developed by NASA. It’s composed of billions of viscoelastic cells, which respond to your temperature and weight.

Pros It feels the same on any bed base. When warm, it moulds to the body and absorbs weight, essentially relieving pressure from the joints.

Cons As the foam moulds to the body it can feel close and quite claustrophobic. This same sinking feeling means you can become quite warm.

Best for: Supportive, good for allergy sufferers and helpful for people with joint pain or a bad back. It
has a unique feel, so you’ll love it or hate it. Either way if you’ve never slept on one before it might take a few nights to get used to.

What is a Latex mattress?

Natural latex is white liquid tapped from the trunks of rubber trees. This is blended
with synthetic latex and turned into latex foam, using the Talalay process, which produces the finest polymer.

Pros: Latex is breathable, so you won’t overheat. Exceptionally durable, its resilient feel also makes it good for those who prefer a firmer bed.

Cons: Some think these mattresses have a rather solid feel, and they can be heavy and difficult to move. Cheaper versions can develop lumps and body impressions.

Best for: Those with allergies (except Latex) and asthma, as latex doesn’t harbour dust mites. It also has natural antimicrobial properties.

What is a Sprung memory foam mattress?

A sprung memory foam mattress is a hybrid of a pocket-sprung base and a memory-foam top layer.

Pros: A compromise between the responsiveness of a pocket-sprung mattress and the support of memory foam. There’s also no need to turn the mattress.

Cons: The ‘sinking’ sensation can put people off, which also means it isn’t recommended for young children, in case they roll onto their face and breathing is inhibited.

Best for: People who still want the feel of a pocket-sprung mattress, without the natural fillings that may irritate allergies.

Now you know what you’re looking for take a look at our pick of the of the best mattresses and banish those bad nights forever; we’ve hunted down the top mattresses on the market – across a variety of budgets and styles, so there’s a perfect choice for everyone.

Once you’ve made the investment try to prolong the life of your mattress with these handy cleaning tips. It’s not pretty but mattresses tend to harbour dust, germs and mites (yuck!), so follow these steps for a super-hygienic bed…

How to clean your mattress

1 Root out the dust

Mattresses are breeding grounds for dust mites, as they live off dead skin cells and thrive in humid environments. Vacuuming or steam-cleaning your mattress will remove or kill the majority of mites and their allergens, but check with your mattress’ manufacturer first as it could damage the filling and/or springs.

2 Let it breathe

Airing your mattress every day will stop stale sweat smells permeating the surface, saving you the hassle of cleaning it later. Get into the habit of airing your bed every morning by drawing the covers off and letting your mattress (and sheets) breathe for 20 minutes before making it.

3 Use natural cleaners wherever possible

Natural cleaners, such as bicarbonate of soda and even vodka, are less harsh than chemical solutions, so try these before using the harder stuff. Use vodka neat

on stains or mix it with water in a spray bottle and spritz your mattress to remove odours. Bicarb is a handy deodoriser – sprinkle it on your mattress, leave for an hour, then vacuum it (and the smells) off.

4 Remove stains

Ideally, you want to tackle new stains on your mattress as soon as they happen. Soak up the spill with a dry absorbent cloth, dab it away with cold water and a sponge. Don’t use hot water as it will only set the stain. Existing spots will be harder to shift – use a stain remover on more stubborn marks.

5 Protect with a cover

A few pre-emptive measures will ensure your mattress looks (and smells) good for longer. Preserve the surface with a mattress protector – go for a design with quilting and extra padding for comfort, or wicking and waterproof top layers for practicality. Look out for a machine-washable option, so you can clean it with your bed linen.

Ideal Home loves...